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Let’s talk data.  I want you to know how I would approach the use of data to inform decisions and ultimately the use of district funds.  

Let’s take enrollment as an example.  If you look at the raw data it shows that resident enrollment is down year over year.   Ok, so let’s break down that piece of data. We know that 159 resident students chose other schools* with 120 of them going to private. We have heard feedback from 33 families (so roughly 21%).  As an example, from that number we heard from 8 that said they were leaving for better advanced academics (so that is 24% of the 33 respondents and 5% of the total students.)  Let’s keep those numbers in mind.

So, how do we make decisions with this data?  We don’t. We don’t have enough insights into the data to suggest improvement or changes yet. The only thing that the data reveals is that more research needs to be conducted.

As a board member what other information would I need to add to the equation before making a recommendation/decision?   Side note: I have brought many of these ideas to our administration as a parent and community member, they had not been previously suggested by current board members.

#1 More respondents, more information.  We need to be administering exit surveys to all families, that pull better data, and have stronger response rates.  That’s a no-brainer, and something the current board would like to see as well. Surveys are important, right now we are gathering semi-structured scale data, but not doing enough to get the right open ended questions answered, that is what drives insights.  We ask “why” and should also be asking “what can we do better.” We have heard “not meeting my child’s needs” as a common answer, but we don’t gather data on what that need is.  

#2 We need to track enrollment fluxuations at the schools our resident students are leaving us for.  Communication is key on this one! If more students are exiting private schools, more spots are open, and more Edina resident students are accepted.   

#3 We need to track sibling retention rates.  We know that many students are leaving for specific reasons, and that siblings are staying in Edina schools.  We need to quantify that to help us understand trends and the true scope of an issue. This tells us if entire families are leaving, or just one student with a specific need.

#4 We need to be better at tracking when students come into, or back to Edina schools, and get as much detailed information as we can.  Take for example a child who left to go somewhere for reading disability support and is entering back into one of our middle schools, or a child coming into our High School from a private elementary because of our robust sports or advanced academic program.  

All of these pieces of data matter when we are making decisions. Seeing the whole picture matters.  As voters in our community, you should expect nothing less than a School Board who understands how to use data responsibly.


*District data here

Prepared and paid for by Janie Shaw for Edina - 3948 49 1/2 St. #24654, Edina, MN 55424

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